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1 - Up around 8:15am. 16C in, 11C out, sunny. . . walked FGn . . . did laundry chores - multiple loads and all out on the line to dry in the sun . . PCd/monitored radios. Another pretty poor day on the bands it would appear. Seems like it's very common for a sunny day = a poor day on the radio. . . cut my hair and beard . . ate a six pieces of bread and butter pile of tuna and mayo sandwiches, crisps and chocolate . . . napped real late briefly until the alarm at 7:30pm! . . . monitored radios a bit, but pretty soon got all overwhelmed with being all mic-shy and having absolutely nothing to say to anyone about anything again. :o( Feeling pretty down actually. The more I seem to listen to others talking about themselves on the radios, the less 'self-worth' I seem to be ending up with and the less likely it is I'll dare to open my mouth (just like old times!!)!!! :o( . . . TVd/guitarred briefly. . ate a large amount of just biscuits before to bed around 1:30am.
2 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up around 8:30am. 16C in, 13C out, sunny. . . walked BGdns and headed straight down to FCove for Bella to swim after her thrown ball a lot. Eventually retreated back up to sit on the grass and warm up in the sun for quite a while (after having crushed and picked up all the beer cans and glass bottle that were strewn all around the place). Wonderful sunny weather, and 'almost' warm. A picturesque sailing ship was sat just off shore at the mouth of the harbour. 'Tres Hombres' apparantly. . . recovered from the walk with a coffee in the garden before ending up having a listen on the radios again - wasting away YET another day, acheiving absolutely nothing. The bands are in truly awful shape at the moment. Hardly anything to hear, even on 40mtrs. I DID however dare the briefest of shouts and a 5/9 signal exchange contact around midday on 20mtrs with a 'DXpedition' station on Giglio Island off the coast of Italy. Not far off the only station I could hear on almost all the bands!! . . . ended up pottering in the back garden for a few hours. Finally got round to shifting a heavy concrete planter which has just been dumped on a part of the garden for a year or two. The little unhealthy looking plant inside it has somehow managed to survive, and true to form at around this time of year, has once again sprouted into little pink flowers. Spent ages carefully digging it out of the big concrete pot before re-planting it in the low brick border on the concrete path. If it's gonna continue to survive, that seems like a much more fitting place for it. Also poked into the soil there, a couple of little bits of campanula which had somehow started growing between paving slabs down by the conservatory - although I doubt very much those almost rootless bits will survive the transplant. . right then - apart from several pots containing cotoneaster plants I've been saving in case I could find a use for them somewhere, and a couple of potted fir trees which ARE quite pleasant, that is pretty much the last of the plants from all the garden pots I wanted to empty and get in the ground. Still leaves me with lots of work to sort out all the resulting pebbles and chippings, and then actually somehow think about getting rid-of (sell?) all the empty pots and planters cluttering up the garage and every spare corner - but I AM well on the way to getting the garden generally into much more manageable, low-maintenance, and not unattractive shape at last. . carried on pottering around quite a bit before eventually making multiple trips with the watering can to water everything - again! Just my luck I get all this gardening done, and get some grass seed layed down, just before what is fast turning in to something of a mini drought right away! Something about the temperatures and weather we've had this last week or two has immediately dried everything out quite dramatically. I need some rain pretty bad! Having said that, today for the first time since I put it down, I AM seeing evidence of some of the grass seed growing out front where I put in the little semi circular stone wall. Yyayy. At last! I'd been starting to wonder if I had a duff bag of seed. That's the plus side of things out front - on the minus side, the precious campanula diggings I put in the raised border out there are NOT looking very healthy. One hitherto decent clump has even been attacked by some bird or other, and is now looking really touch and go for survival! . . . ate grated cheese and mayo sandwiches, crisps and a little chocolate . . . napped late for an hour or two until just before the alarm at 7:30pm . . woke to the sound of sawing! Turned out to be next door cutting down the substantial tree in his back garden! Briefly loaned him an offcut of my antenna wire to enable him to pull the top of the tree over as it fell! . . monitored local radios/PCd this . . . TVd . . ate a microwaved tin of stewing steak with four pieces of bread and butter . . to bed at 1:30am.
3 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up at 8am. 17C in, 11C out, sunny. . headachey. Walked FGn and back via the store for just a few supplies . . . shifted my big garden waste burner oil drum out into the lane and left it on next doors hardstanding. He'd said he wanted to borrow it to maybe burn the tree he'd cut down. . mowed both lawns after having fitted the remaining spacer I have, beneath the blade on the mower, to lower the cut as much as I ever dare. It DID make for a preferably closer cut, but seemed to put quite a bit more 'strain' on the old mower motor, so I'm not sure I dare leave it like that. . . messed around in the garage for ages (and absurd amount of time - with saw, file and sandpaper), knocking up a round disc of PVC from one of the old window-cill type offcuts I've been hanging onto for years. Fashioned the disc to fit down inside one of the solar lamp tops I recently found in the hedge up the road, and was then able to drill it and put a long screw down from the inside. Quickly drilled a single hole in the top of the cap stone on the wall next to the steps by the front gate, and simply screwed the solar light top straight down on to it. I doubt it'll actually give enough light there to illuminate the steps to any useful degree, but worth a shot. Silly not to try and make use of those lights 'somewhere'. I've yet to decide what to do with the other one. Totally silly and pointless, but I AM (because it's one odd one and I found it and got it for nothing) sorely tempted to screw it to the very top of my new aerial wire mast post up by the garage! It wouldn't of course give any 'useable' light from up there (despite it being absolutely pitch black up there at night), but would enable me to see it from the kitchen and 'comfort me' that the mast is still up in the air in strong winds etc! lol Not sure I want to draw too much attention to it. Another rather more sensible idea, now I've figured out how to screw it to something, would be to simply sort out a nice lump of natural stone and screw it to that, enabling me to simply plonk it down on the ground in the garden anywhere suitable. We'll see . . . felt headachey and increasingly really quite awful, despite popping a few paracetamol throughout the morning. Eventually gave up the struggle of trying to 'do' something with the day. . .ate ham sandwiches, crisps and a banana before laying down. . napped until around 6pm . . watered the grass seed out front . . .D called in with his guitar for chats etc until gone 10pm. . . cooked and ate a pack of going off/cheap small sausages in sandwiches followed by biscuits and chocolate . . TVd until finally to bed shortly before 3am.
4 - Up around 7:45am, overheating. Changing my winter duvet for my summer one is overdue. 16C in, 10C out, windy, grey and just a hint of drizzle. . walked FGn. There WAS a bit of drizzle in the air, but not even enough to actually really dampen the ground, which was rather disappointing from the point of view of the needs of my garden, etc. Actually pretty cold and unpleasant on the exposed green, in the near 30mph westerly gusts of wind. How on earth some people can stand walking around in T shirt and shorts in such weather is beyond me! . . . PCd a bit of this . . next door was loading up a trailer with his cut down tree, so it looks as though he won't be using my oil drum burner after all. . . balanced my accounts . . . Mum called in with the paper and food donations . sorted out a bit of potted Cotoneaster in the garden for Mum. I have several bits of that in a couple of pots which I've been saving in case I wanted to plant them somewhere, but I've pretty much concluded I do NOT want ANY of them. Mum said she had a use for one bit in her front garden, and was happy to accept the piece which was in its own pot. The pot was already all cracked and broken, so it seemed easiest to just smash the pot up with a hammer and then carry the plant and its pot-bound root bowl up mums in a builders bucket. . . all slowly walked back up Mums, with me carrying the bucket. Not heavy, but a good dose of pain from my dodgy lower back nonetheless! :o( . .wow - the little pond in Mum's back garden is absolutely teeming with newts! LOADS of them. Wonderful. Oh boy - I SO would like to have a pond on the third tier of my back garden (where all the weeds are constantly re-growing through all the gaps between the poorly loose-laid paving slabs) but it'd be SO much work and hassle to put one in (especially without a car) that I just don't think I'll ever be able to face trying to. SUCH a shame! :o( . . dug a hole in one of Mum's back garden borders and eventually planted to her very picky satisfaction the small confier I'd carried up there a while ago. Eventually got the cotoneaster planted in her front garden too. Dug out another plant that wasn't doing too well, and got that tneporarily transplanted into a pot, to see if it'll survive before maybe re-planting some time in the future elsewhere. . eventually called it quits, with the weather having improved to a real nice sunny day. Sat in Mums garden for a coffee and a bit of a snack of some pork pie, mini cheddar crackers and cheese before eventually returning home. Ate a couple of bowls of co-co pops and then napped until just before the 6:30pm alarm . . walked BGdns. It would have been a very pleasant long sit in BGdns if not for the nauseating noise coming from the Fairmile ferry. It was clearly engaged in doing a slow 'booze cruise' type thing around the whole of the bay. It was cruising around the coastline rreally slowly, had a disco onboard, and had the volume cranked-up to outrageous levels. As if that wasn't bad enough, the music they were playing was gangster rap type, complete with the seemingly obligatory frequent F words etc. Whatever one's taste in music, one has to surely concede, THAT type of music is 'designed' to be offensive. I FIND IT SO! Absolutely F**ING outrageous to me that those ferry company guys can get away with inflicting that on the entire bay like that! There was absolutely no escaping it, throughout my entire time in Bgdns. It was SO loud, it remained 'disturbing' and unpleasant, even when the Fairmile was miles away nearer to Paignton than to Brixham. Grrrrr. :o( Worthy of note here, that it was the weekend of the big bike rally at Paignton this weekend. Contrary to previous years, I couldn't hear a trace of the sounds of any of the usual rock bands drifting across the bay? Also - the Fairmile appears to have been re-painted during the winter. It's now all a dull grey - with a red cross on its superstructure somewhere. A dog walker told me they were trying to restore it kinda, and make it look more like it did during the war. They are even allegedly looking to get a deck gun for it. It IS a beautiful boat. Seems doubly insulting for it to be cruising around inflicting such a horrible noise on all those who do not wish to hear it! :o( . . found an expensive heavy rubber dog ball on the way back up through the gardens. I DID play with it with Bella for a bit and DID take it home - but tennis balls are much more her preference, and they ARE much easier to carry and less likely to roll-on and be lost over the cliffs etc, etc. . . . drank a glass of wine . . TVd Iplayer stuff because nothing on worth watching . . ate two beef finger rolls, a banana and some chocolate . . to bed around 1:30am.
5 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up at 8:45am. 18C in, 16C out, sunny. . walked BGdns and sat around for ages. Really busy out in the bay with all the ferries bustling to and fro, yachts sailing and everyone out in the good weather playing with their 'toys'. Super weather - but still not as warm as would have been preferred. . a bunch of 'stuff' for sale/free was out in the front yard of a house near BGdns. (The same house I once got all that plastic electrical conduit from for nothing - which I used in the walls to put in all the new wiring/socket boxes etc in the house). HAD to have a good look at everything the guy had there. Sadly, there really wasn't anything I could particularly make use of on this occasion. There WAS however a computer he was selling. Trouble with that was, it was a Dell SERVER (rather than a 'regular' desktop PC) - about which I know absolutely nothing. Wrote down the model number and returned straight home to quickly research it on the net. Pretty soon became apparant that it really wouldn't have been any particular use to me for my purposes as far as I could tell. Best to resist the temptation. . . listened to radios for a bit. The bands in pretty poor shape again. . sat in the garden for a bit - feeling all 'uptight' and a bit down, as is generally the case on a nice sunny day!!? I spend all that time throughout the winter longing for a nice bit of warm sunny weather, and yet when it happens, I just end up feeling uptight and miserable - as though I should be out there 'doing something' with it (like everyone else!) - and yet, in such nice weather, is exactly the time when I don't feel capable of doing much, or actually can't think of anything I'm able or want to be doing, etc, etc!!!! Catch 22 - always the same! :o( SUCH a waste! . . put my lightweight summer duvet on the bed . . . ate grated cheese, mayo and ham sandwiches with a large bag of crisps followed by some chocolate . . napped the afternoon away . . .TVd/guitarred the evening away. This evening's episode of the 'Fish Town' series on the Pick TV channel did NOT materialise for no apparant reason!? That's irritating. . cooked and ate two quarter pound cheeseburgers with mayo and ketchup followed by chocolate and jam tarts . . to bed around 2am.
6 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up around 8:45am again. 18C in, 8C out, foggy. As usual in such weather conditions, there appeared to be something of a lift on 2mtrs. . . walked FGn in the thinning fog . . recovered with a coffee in the garden as the sun began to break through a little . . . did the mountain of dish washing chores . . pottered around a bit before sitting at the table in the garden putting some polish on my walking boots . . PCd and radiod locally just a bit. . D called to confirm he was on his way over (with his dog) to go for a walk to BGdns as had been suggested the other day . . sat in the sun in the front garden until D arrived. Bella was 'excited' but not particularly any more so than her usual. . all walked BGdns. The two dogs seemed to largely ignore each other. D's dog seemed to be all relaxed and all about doing his own little thing, sniffing around and scent marking all over the place. Bella was all her usual 'hectic' self, but mostly keeping an eye on where I was all the time. Really brought into focus how crazy and presumably insecure poor Bella is. . sadly the sea mist/fog was filling the bay and gently coming and going throughout our walk, so it was cooler than would have been nice, and D was not treated to the usual good views across the bay. . gave D a tour of all the WWII related structures in the gardens and then eventually ended up at the Brixham Battery Heritage Group museum. As luck would have it, the place was open, and D got to see the 'Tardis' like Alladins-cave the little place is on the inside (FULL of WWII guns (I got to 'hands on' play with a couple - including a sten), bayonets, ammunition, gas masks, uniforms, posters, radios, etc etc etc - and countless other interesting artefacts, including even a Norton army motorcycle!). Entry was free, so it seemed appropriate to dump at least all the small change I had in my pocket into the donations tin. D seemed suitably suprised and impressed with it all. :o) . . eventually carried on up the path past the holiday camp and headed on down to Churston cove (for some ball throwing/swimming for Bella - D's dog doesn't like the water apparantly) and thence the circular walk all the way back up through the woods. The bluebells display up in the woods is now very near its best. Wonderful place . passed M and his two dobermans on the way back down the path out of the woods. I saw them coming and leashed Bella up real quick. M held onto 'the' dobermans collar as we passed and exchanged a friendly greeting. Phew!! Thank god we didn't bump into them down in the woods!! . . eventually returned to my usual lower seat in Bgdns for a bit of ball play for Bella before then heading home for a coffee. . . it was a 'little' stressful welcoming D's dog into the house, but Bella actually tolerated it relatively well. The closest she got to any hint of real objection was when he had a drink from HER water bowl - but even then, she didn't actually have a go at him. She was clearly mostly concerned that her breakfast was still in her food bowl. (What I assume was lack of sufficient food in her previous life has definitely had an affect on her behavior when it comes to food. Suddenly having a strange dog near HER food was probably her worst nightmare!) She VERY quickly woofed it all down. All in all, she was very, VERY good about suddenly having an unknown dog around HER place. VERY pleased with her. :o) . . . PCd a bit of this around 7:30pm as the fog outside thickened again - sufficient to actually make just the opposite side of town out-front invisible to me! DEFINITELY still a 'lift' on VHF - listening to mostly a busy SOLENT coastguard as I type this! I usually can't pick them up at all from here! . . . TVd . . drank a glass of red wine while heating a frozen pepperoni pizza with extra cheese. . ate pizza a three mum donated jam tarts followed by a couple of squares of chocolate . . BB called to touch base . . TVd until to bed before 1am.
7 - Up around 8am. 16C in, 9C out, cloudy. . . walked FGn as the weather quickly improved to warm and sunny. Actually turned into a much better, warmer, sunnier day than yesterday, and far better than the last forecast I'd seen. . was recovering from the walk with a coffee in the back garden, mustering up the energy to finally have a much needed go at trimming the two badly overgrown trees down the right side of the garden, when Mum called to touch base. Her deformed/clawed feet have got so bad, she really is having increasing trouble walking, but she HAD expressed a desire to attempt to walk the woods walk one day, to see the bluebells (and very potentially, for the last time ever!!!!). Despite wanting to get on and do my 'tree surgery' before the forecast 50mph gusting winds on Thursday, with rain and a general decline in the weather forecast, and with a very limited window of opportunity (because the best of the bluebells display doesn't last long), I suggested that if she was up to it, we should try the woods walk today - like RIGHT NOW! . . headed back out with Bella just as Mum was coming down the road. It was agonisingly slow going keeping to Mums slow pace, and particularly difficult stopping Bella from wanting to be racing on ahead, but we eventually made it down all the rough steps to Churston Cove. The tide was WAY out. Left Mum sitting on the rocks next to the beach for a bit, and made my way down across all the more usually submerged rocks to the 'distant' waters edge for a brief bit of ball throwing for Bella to swim out for. . walked all the way back up through the woods giving Mum the chance to see the bluebells. Not 'quite' at their best yet, but pretty close, a beautiful day and nice and dry under foot after all the recent dry/sunny weather. Doing that walk at precisely this time of year, always brings back memories of when Dad managed to do it, not long before he died. It's something of an 'emotional pilgrimage' for us all I think, and WAS of course remarked upon by Mum YET again as if I didn't know. . slowly oh SO slowly eventually made our way all the way back down to sit on the lower seat in Bgdns for a bit of ball throwing. Actually a bit chilly sat there in the shade. .finished ball playing and then climbed back up top. Recovered from the climb (and the chill of the shade) by sitting on one of the higher seats in the sun for quite a while. Eventually got up to head back up the grassy bank to the path. As Mum started to climb the gentle grassy slope, she started to teeter backwards!!!! I was stood behind her and saw what was happening as she started to fall back towards me, but couldn't do much to help other than try to push her forward by pushing on her bottom!!! That didn't help much - and simply had the effect of pushing her to the ground, with me kinda following in my clumsy attempts to ensure she was gonna be ok! Thankfully she wasn't hurt - and we just both ended up in a laughing heap on the floor. Laughing, because we'd just made a right couple of fools of ourselves, right in front of a couple of people sat facing our 'show' on a nearby seat. Must have looked as though I was abusing the poor old woman and throwing her around the place!!! lol (They had a black dog called Bella!) . . eventually slowly, slowly returned to our respective homes . . . sat in the back garden recovering from the walk with coffee and cigs, feeling really very, VERY tired and hungry. It took a HUGE effort not to just eat and sleep, but I somehow managed to start having a go at pruning and trimming the two trees as I'd intended earlier. REALLY wanted to get them trimmed down a bit before the next storm. Both those trees appear to have been planted in the little walled borders on top of the concrete path, with very little in the way of roots keeping them in the ground. The one furthest from the house in particular, sways in the wind and is really threatening to be blown over. They've BOTH grown lots, and become far too high and 'straggley', and with all their spring leaves on now, are presenting a substantial 'wind load' to the gales. It's probably the wrong time of year to do it, but at least with all the leaves on, it makes it easier to attempt to trim them such that they retain some proper tree like 'shape'. My similar past trimming of the much larger cherry blossom tree seems to have worked out ok. It's currently absolutely LOADED with blossom. . used single sections of ladder precariously propped up against different parts of the trees, and at length, after MUCH up and down and walking about to check I was keeping a tree like shape as best I could, I managed to trim them both down substantially with just the secateurs and lopper - despite the increasing wind, and lacerations on my arms from the thorny spikes! What was that recent comment I made about a 'low maintenance' garden????!! Jeeze!!! I hadn't at all envisaged just how much work doing that trimming would be. If the wind doesn't do it for me some stormy night, those trees WILL ultimately HAVE to go. They really should NEVER have been planted where they are in those little borders built on the concrete path! Utterly absurd. It's impossible to adequately photograph the back garden, so it's hard to see from the little image included here, but those two trees are now about two thirds of their previous absurdly overgrown and mishapen height! Ended up with a huge pile of cuttings in the garden. Uggh. :o( Spent the next hour or two chopping everything up into bag sized chunks before ultimately filling two dustbins! Damn - (without a car) I'm gonna spend the rest of the year trying to get rid of all that now! . . while I was cutting up all the tree cuttings with the secateurs and lopper, the neighbor passed by and mentioned how he had a problem with his electrics. He'd got up in the morning to find his main downstairs sockets ring was tripping the breaker. All the sockets in his garage and elsewhere in his house were ok - it was just that particular ground floor sockets ring which had a fault - for no apparant reason!? Weird one that, and a nasty one to have to try to get to the bottom of. We had a brief chat about it before I wished him luck as he headed-in to start taking each socket apart for a check of the wiring clamp screws. At length, he eventually came back out and announced that he had FINALLY found the 'fault' (on the very last socket he had to check, of course). That last socket which turned out to be the problem, was apparantly the one behind the washing machine. When he took the socket apart, he found a huge SLUG inside it!! It was all healthy and damp, and it was THAT which had been shorting across the earth terminal inside the socket and tripping the trip!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing! I've NEVER heard of anything like that before. The slug was even 'apparantly' still alive (those 'trips' really ARE lifesavers!) , and was uncermoniously evicted and thrown into his garden. IMMEDIATELY he threw it on his garden, a seagull swooped down, so I think that was the end of that poor hitherto death defying slug. (Slugs getting in through the airbricks out back, and then appearing in the kitchen from under the floor, is something I had a LOT of when I first moved in. Really irritating to find slug trails on the kitchen carpet tiles all the time - and even actually find the slugs on occasions!! I don't get the problem any more, probably because of all the insulation I rammed into all the gaps under the floor boards. Part of me was glad to hear it wasn't just my house that had that unpleasant issue.) Anyway - that's a tale to share with people methinks. Shame he didn't take a photo of it in situ. Wonder what some poor old pensioner or some such would have had to pay an electricion to get to the bottom of such a thing? They'd have probably ended up paying thousands for a complete rewiring con! . . With the cloud and wind building, I eventually stashed the dustbins undercover in the garage and called it quits somewhere around 7pm. Exhausted. TVd feeling UTTERLY exhausted. . ate three bananas, two ham and mayo finger rolls, a pack of mini cheddars and a trio of jam tarts and some biscuits . . PCd/monitored radios for an hour or two whilst laboriously knocking up a handful of e-mails to Sis2, with just a bunch of photos (Mum/bluebells, etc) attached. .on the radio it appeared there was a 2 meter SSB contest on. (Incredibly rare for me to hear ANY activity down here on 2mtrs SSB!) Tuned around listening quite a bit, but couldn't hear many stations at all. Sadly just goes to prove what a terrible location I live in for radio, down in/on the side of the valley here. :o( . . all of a sudden so it seemed, the wind got up gusting real strong, and huge clouds of the cherry blossom were suddenly blowing around the back garden like a blizzard!! By around 10pm the forecast heavy rain had arrived. Yayyyyy. :o) First time in a while I can recall being so welcoming of the rain. JUST what the garden needs after all the work I've been doing these last few weeks. . . . TVd forcing myself to stay awake until to bed before 1am.
8 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up around 7:15am. 16C in, 11C out, cloudy and damp. The back garden is just covered in cherry blossom petals!! Still plenty on the tree, but it looks almost as though the garden has a covering of snow! . . walked FGn in the stiff breeze as things brightened to sunny spells . . . filled a handful of plastic carrier bags with chopped-up tree cuttings and 'secreted' them in the wheelie bin. . . PCd this whilst monitoring radios. The coastguard put out a weather warning around 11am. Gale force eight expected later for Portland, sever gale force nine for Plymouth!! :o( I'm anxious about my aerials of course (the new wire, scaffold pole and colinear bolted to the front of the house has yet to prove itself in a proper storm!) and I guess I'll end up with all the rest of the cherry blossom petals filling the garden and blocking my drain, etc, etc. :o( . . carried on PCing this at length, monitoring radios as I do. When I say 'monitoring' - I'm usually talking about having a couple of 'spot' frequencies dialled in on one of the radios, whilst letting the scanner scan a whole bunch of others, including all the marine band. Plenty of radio traffic comes and goes, but it's usually easy to 'ignore' the routine nonsense, get on with other things and just keep half an ear out for more important and interesting stuff which may occasionally happen. My 'multitasking' went all awry around midday when someone (on a yacht somewhere?) appeared on marine channel 68 just continually calling 'Terry' over and over again!!! lolol A bit hard to ignore that I found. . .ate a pastry slice, tin of baked beans and some grated cheese followed by a couple of squares of chocolate. . .napped . vacuumed . . . PCd monitoring radios. Somehow ended up surfing looking at 'smart' mobile-phones of all things! A bewildering array of handsets and operating systems and networks available! All rather beyond me. It's the last thing in the world I should be spending any money on of course , but even if I was to, I just wouldn't have a clue which to go for! Around £125 seems to be the current benchmark for a 'half decent' unlocked one, as far as I can make out!? That makes it easy for me to continue to resist the desire I guess . .TVd/guitarred . . ate spam and mayo sandwiches, three jam tarts and all the remaining biscuits in the house. I SO need to shop - I'm low on everything! . . to bed around 2am.
9 - Up around 8:15 am to the sounds of the bin men doing their fortnightly emptying of the wheelie bins. 17C in, 12C out, sun, cloud and WINDY. The worst winds of the forecast gale arrive here early afternoon I think. . . walked BGdns and then back via the store for a few bread etc supplies, and then the post office for a bit of cash . . . put in the rest of the morning chopping up tree cuttings in the garage, and stuffing it all into plastic carrier bags (saved for the purpose, from trips to the local store). Actually somehow managed to chop down everything enough to clear the two dustbins full, and get the resulting nine carrier bags or more, crammed in the bottom of the empty small wheelie bin - ready to be 'hidden' by my next two weeks modest amount of normal household rubbish. .boy oh boy is the wind gusty!! I can't even bear to sit in the conservatory looking out down the back garden, because of the way that bottom tree in the path-mounted border is swaying around (the adjacent fence with its broken metal post mount too)!! Wouldn't be at all suprised if this storm knocked it all down. That'd just be sods-law typical, after all the effort I put into trying to trim it down! My antennas are taking a pounding too - with plenty of wind noise and 'rumbling' from the scaffold pole etc, audible in the house! . . PCd a bit of this around midday. 42mph gusts locally already, according to the weather website . . . messed around on the radio. Put in a couple of hours meticulously going from band to band and knocking up a spreadsheet of the settings the tuner needs to give a useable SWR on the wire antenna. Having that list to hand will hopefully speed up (at least a little) the absurdly long amount of time it usualy takes me to actually be in a position to safely transmit when I hear someone I feel inclined to shout at (what I've found is a major drawback of having a 'random wire' antenna and a manual tuner.) . ultimately ended up messing around on 6mtrs confirming that the tuner could also tune the wire for THAT band. Experimented and chatted locally on the 6m GB3TQ repeater - because I could! lol (although it must be said, there appeared to be something of an 'issue' with the quality of the repeated signal - and thankfully NOT a problem MY end. It was the same for the station I spoke with. We both sounded clearer/better simplex!?). . . ate spam and mayo sandwiches, crisps and a banana . . napped . . . TVd . . listened to radio. Made the briefest of contacts with a station in Florida on 15mtrs. . . TVd . .ate two microwaved chicken legs with four pieces of bread and butter followed by a little chocolate. . TVd until to bed around 2am
10 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up around 7:12am after not enough sleep. 16C in, 11C out, sunny spells and still pretty breezy, but slightly less so than yesterday thank goodness. Thankfully I appear to have come through yesterday's gale 'intact'. . . Headachey and tired. Popped a paracetamol. Walked FGn and then back via the store for a few supplies . . . monitored radios while aimlessly PCing - really just wasting away yet another day until it's 'late' enough to return to sleep/nap! Frankly, I feel awful. . .cooked and ate a chicken and mushroom pastry slice, chips and peas followed by a little chocolate. . napped. The nap lasted little longer than an hour or so!! I was woken by what turned into a really bad toothache - again - on top of my continuing headache!! :o( . . popped a paracetamol (or was it two?). . TVd . . D arrived with his guitar (and a packet of chocolate biscuits) for chats and a little noise making until around 10:15pm . . another paracetamol tablet somwhere during the evening. . . played radios for a bit after D had gone. Propogation on the HF bands appeared to be in very good shape. Gave a few half hearted calls here and there but to no avail (apart from one contact with a 'DXpedition' station on the Isle Of Mull on 40mtrs) - which was probably just as well. I felt pretty rough, VERY sleep deprived and 'woozy' as a result, and would definitely have had difficulty having ANY form of intelligent, coherent conversation with anyone!! Eventually called it quits and TVd for a bit. . forced down a banana and a couple of bowls of Co-Co pops. . eventually to bed at 1:30am.
11 - Woke at 5am with toothache. Tried to get back to sleep but no way. Popped an Ibucalm tablet and then tried to sleep again for the next hour or so. Still no way! Every five minutes the pain demanded I take a gulp of cold water to temporarily ease things down. Weird thing was, if I layed on my back, it didn't seem to hurt as much as quickly as when I turned to lay on either side? Trouble with that is, because of the ever present pain from my bad lower-back/rotational-scoliosis thing, there's no way I can stay laying flat on my back for very long - and certainly can't EVER sleep like that! MISERY! Gave up and got up around 6:10am. 16C in, 8C out, grey and drizzle. . .listened to radios for a couple of hours. . sucked an annadin tablet . walked FGn in what started turning into sunny spells. Eventually carried on down town and did a short tour of a couple of charity shops. Bought 18 tins of Tesco's own dog food (£8.70) and then four packs of Annadin-extra tablets in Boots the chemist (£7.96). . a tiring and back-aching walk home with a heavy rucsack . . . PCd a bit of this in plenty of intermitant pain from my toothache!? Can't understand why all the recent painkillers I've taken haven't helped much - and I AM aware I'm in danger of having overdone who knows what in the way of 'recommended doses' over the last few hours, mixing them like I have been! Feel light-headed/woozy through lack of sleep. :o( . . inexplicably, my tooth pain 'calmed down' for a while and almost actually disappeared??? . Almost fell off my chair with suprise when someone called me on the local repeater. They were 'reminding' me that the Ten Tors was ongoing on Dartmoor, and that the 'Dart Rescue' repeater frequency (167.1Mhz) was particularly active and could be worth a listen. I'd TOTALLY forgotten about that! I had a go at listening, but that repeater is actually on the very far edge of what I can hear from my poor location down in this dip, and the one colinear I have which can JUST about pull it in, is currently connected to the FT-897 which CAN'T monitor that frequency (because it isn't (currently) 'widebanded'). Sadly I've only just got everything 'more or less' working as I want, and wasn't prepared to start swapping antennas around again, so I unfortunately could NOT eavesdrop on what I'm sure would have made for some 'interesting/entertaining' listening. :o( . .TVd briefly waiting for Mum to arrive, and somehow discovered that the next 'Pick TV' channel episode of the 'Fish Town' series (which had NOT been broadcast on Sunday evening) WAS in fact going to be broadcast at 1pm this afternoon? . Mum eventually called in with the papers, food donations and her usual pork pie treat for spoiled Bella. I had a small piece of Bellas pork pie. THAT was a big mistake. As we both settled down to watch the TV show, my tooth pain returned with a 'squirming in my seat' vengence! Managed to get through most of the show (after having brushed my teeth during an ad break) by swigging mouthfulls of cold water again, before eventually sucking another annadin tablet when the time elapsed since the last one was judged to be 'safe'. Thankfully that one DID seem to pretty quickly work, and take the pain away sufficient for me to be able to get some food inside me after Mum had gone. . ate 3 microwaved chicken drumsticks with four pieces of bread and butter . . successfully napped for a couple of hours, and then woke still WITHOUT toothache. Weird. Can't recall having had SUCH bad toothache which just suddenly comes and goes like this? . . . sat around feeling fragile in front the TV and then the radios for hours - but still no return of the really bad tooth pain? . . ate a slice of pork pie, crisps and a whole pack of Mum donated Kipling almond slices before to bed at getting on for 4am.
12 - Up around 8:50am. 16C in, 12C out, sunny spells . . walked BGdns. . . mowed the lawns front and back. Some of the grass seed I put down is now really doing it's best to grow. The area out front actually looks ok from the house, but if you go down there and have a proper look at it, the grass is VERY patchy and sparse. I reckon only around a 50% success rate with all that seed I put in there!!? That's pretty poor and disappointing . . broke up a few rocks and a big broken clay plant pot, and added all the resulting 'rubble' to a pothole in the lane . . although next door had taken all his tree cuttings to the local tip in a trailer, he still ended up having a bit of a burn in my burner this morning of some cardboard (?) and bits and pieces he wanted rid of. Dug out just a couple of bits of old rubbish wood from my woodpile in the garage to add to the flames. (The rubbishy bits of kitchen drawer-front that came with those brass knobs I salvaged from a house up the road, which I used on my mantlepiece 'display' morse keys). . . the breezy weather deteriorated to a bit of drizzle . . . radiod. During my initial trawl through all the amateur bands, I stumbled into someone (in a distant country, from the characteristics of the signal) transmitting music in the middle of one of the amateur bands!!!???? The whole track of Bob Marley singing 'One Love' on 20mtrs was played - more than once!? . . couldn't resist seeing if anyone was on the local repeater, to 'share my disapproval' of what I was hearing. Ended up chatting locally for quite a while. . A couple of those I chatted to were having a 'sched' on 10mtrs (to which I clearly wasn't 'invited') but I couldn't resist having a listen around the frequency they mentioned they had intended to use, but which was already occupied. The band seemed generally pretty dead, but the station using that particular frequency was coming in loud and clear. Listened for quite a while before eventually being unable to resist giving the guy a shout. Yayyy - I made it through the little 'pile up' he had going, and got to be his final brief contact before he went off the air. An ex-pat in Cyprus - and I was even given a good signal report. Allegedly coming in to him stronger than the other UK stations he'd been working (none of which I could hear at all). That I'm sure had more to do with the propogation conditions and HIS big tower and multi element beam, but given my modest bit of 'random wire', bizarrely/uniquely strung over the roof and down the garden, I was VERY pleased to have made the brief contact..Given my 'mental issues', distanced attitude towards humanity in general, lack of self esteem and self confidence, 'mic shyness', etc, etc, etc, it really is a bit of a minefield of 'Russian roulette' for me, playing this radio amateur game. Sometimes it can all seem to go relatively 'ok', and I'll come away from it feeling just a little bit of a buzz of excitement and achievement. Sadly, more often, I walk away from it feeling the complete opposite and ever more 'inadequate' and lacking! On THIS occasion, I eventually turned everything off feeling 'up', buzzy, happy and lucky with my lot (and thank goodness, STILL no re-occurrence of my bad tooth pain - yet). . . drank a glass of red wine to celebrate feeling 'ok' - no matter how shortlived it will inevitably be . . cooked and ate two quarter pound burgers in buttered bread rolls with grated cheese, mayo and ketchup. . . napped until gone 6:30pm. Woke feeling back to my usual, NOT 'up' :o( . . TVd . . guitarred . . PCd/monitored radios . . TVd and ate biscuits then later, a chicken and mushroom pastry slice and crisps followed by a couple of squares of chocolate . . TVd until to bed around 2am.
13 - Up around 8:50am again. 16C in, 12C out, sunny spells . . walked BGdns as the sunny spells ebbed away to more of a dull grey sky . . .The neighbour up the road who had a leaking water main a while ago, and had it all 'repaired', was out reading her water meter as I returned down the road. I'd spotted small signs that it was likely leaking again a while ago, and had been toying with the idea of mentioning it if I ever saw them out when I passed. The poor woman confirmed the problem WAS returned, and they were having 'issues' with the 'repair' people! :o( . . recovered from the walk with a coffee and cigs in the garden. A guy from a short distance up the road appeared to be using a neighbours ladder to wipe down her gutters out back. (The neighbour in my rank who's joined gutters 'I' have cleared out in the past.) I couldn't help myself calling hello over the garden fence and awkwardly offering some jovial 'advice'. I guess not everyone in the world is as familiar with using ladders as I have become? The guy was using the ladder both upside down AND back to front!! A tad unsafe that I thought, and worthy of me butting in I felt. He took my comments well and genuinely didn't seem to know how to use a ladder, and promptly eventually turned it over and around the right way! lol I retreated inside and left him to it, to save him any further potential self-conscious embarassment. . . PCd a bit of this . . . ate two ham rolls, crisps and some chocolate . . napped the afternoon away until the alarm at 7pm . . walked BGdns with a coffee. . back around 9pm. .sprinkled down some more grass seed out front before tomorrows forecast heavy rain. . . TVd . . PCd/listened to radios . . . TVd . . ate a pastry slice and tin of sausages in baked beans followed by some chocolate . . to bed around 2am. Trouble sleeping at first, for quite a while, because of the sound of a nearby helicopter. I didn't bother getting back up to look, but I presume it was the police.
14 - Up around 7:15am. 16C in, 8C out, cloudy grey but dry. That's a suprise. The forecast suggested it'd be pouring with rain by now. Oooh - I wonder if I can get the walk done before it arrives? . . walked FGn in full weather gear in what ended up being nothing more than an intermittant light drizzle. Felt cold. Back via the store for tobacco supplies (£88.30). :o( . . . PCd/monitored radios all morning as the forecast heavy rain arrived in earnest . .felt pretty down all day and oh so cold and aching!? . . ate ham, grated cheese and mayo sandwiches, crisps, banana and chocolate . . . napped the afternoon away as best I could, with a bad raging storm absolutely battering the house, with frightening gusts of wind - on occasions, making the whole roof/upper-floor/stud-walls creak in a frightening way!!! . . woke with great difficulty after 7pm. . TVd - eventually with the fire on for some of the time! Outside temperature had rapidly dropped to only around 7C, high 15Cs inside. . . was just about to have some food and had defrosted some bread somewhere near midnight when all of a sudden the living-room scanner unexpectedly started picking up a signal on 10mtrs from the 'KQ2H' repeater in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York! Haven't heard that coming in like that for ages. Had to race up onto the radios to see what was happening with the unexpected propogation. The signal was suffering some pretty severe and rapid fading ('QSB') down to NOT copyable, but at times it was coming in at an amazing 20db over S9 (like, about as loud as anything my radio can ever pick up!). I couldn't resist having a go at it and tuned up and had a shout or two. I got into it and, would you believe it, ended up having a brief and largely 'failed' (because of the fading of the signal) exchange of a few words with a station in - wait for it - Hampshire, just along the coast!!!!! lolol Funny to be talking through a repeater three thousand miles away, to a ham just 'down the road'. He actually managed a contact with a Brazilian station a short time after, but I didn't bother calling because the fade was too bad, and the Brazilian guy wasn't getting in clearly enough for my ears. The propogation 'opening' fairly soon ebbed away to nothing. Ended up just listening around the bands for hours, before then ending up chatting 'locally' to D on the Dorset repeater about 'nonsense' until gone 3am! . . . ate a couple of corned beef sandwiches. Wasn't hungry, but needed to eat something to enable me to have a chance of sleeping. . eventually to bed around 4am!
15 - Up around 10:15am!!!! 15C in, 11C out, threatening cloud but dry. . . walked BGdns real late. A few drops of rain, but not too bad, and even a sunny spell or two. Back via the store for milk and bread supplies. An advert was in the local newsagents window for a second hand vacuum. Raced straight home and onto the PC to look up what type it was/read reviews etc, and see if it was maybe worth going for. I really have pretty much reached the end of my thether with my 'useless' vaccuum collection. Neither of the uprights I have now does anything much more than 'stir' the dust all around the place when I use them. From the noise it makes, the motor of the best of the two, is threatening to burn-out and stop working at ANY moment. As a result (like with the washing machine) I live in fear of having to use the damned thing. When I DO dare to vacuum around the place, I have to go round once with 'the best' one (emptying/unclogging it several times), then again with the other (which ALWAYS has the hose block - at LEAST once) in order to pick up at least 'some' of the dog hair and dust which covers EVERYTHING. BOTH put choking clouds of fine dust straight up into the air to land back down on everything, so I ALWAYS have to vacuum with all the doors and windows open (but always suffer with much coughing etc later as a result!)! Bella has learned to flee into the garden when I produce the vacuums from the understairs cupboard. In short - it's all horrendous, and (as with so much of my existance) I can't believe many people would continue to exist like this! Fine red mud dust and filth on everything, EVERWHERE, ALL the time! :o( . .my internet searches very quickly identified that the second-hand 'Vax Mach1' vacuum advertised in the local store window would be NO use to me whatsoever. . somehow, doing that bit of internet searching suddenly seemed to make getting a 'new' vaccuum an immediate priority. I've searched for a likely replacement before, but never seemed to be able to get to the bottom of which one could possibly cope with my unique, almost 'industrial' needs. Inexplicably, on this occasion, after having read all manner of reviews and suchlike, I 'suddenly' settled on one which 'appeared' to be worth giving a go (because it was bagless of course - had a belt driven brush head - had some very good reviews - but most of all, it 'appeared' to offer the greatest actual 'suck' I was ever liable to be able to afford). A HOOVER HP2300 Hurricane Power Upright. Surfed and surfed and without as much hesitating as I normally do about everything, eventually 'dared' to give it a go with a 'refurbished' one from one of the multiple dealers on e-bay. They were all pretty much around the same price, and although I could have got it a £ or so cheaper, I went for one which allegedly gave a 12 month warranty, and which gave the fastest delivery time. So - (using some of my 'still sat there', e-bay sales money) I ordered a HOOVER HP2300 Hurricane Power Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner with 12 MONTH WARRANTY (which DOESN'T include 'consumeables' such as drive belts, filter, etc) for £47.99 - and 'should' have it delivered late this or early next week! . . PCd this - and radiod briefly locally.(More music playing, CW 'interference' and general unpleasantness and stupidity going on on 14.195mhz again around 13:15+UTC!!??? What the hell is the matter with 'people'?!) . . . ate corned beef sandwiches of crusts of bread with a tin of oxtail soup followed by a bit of chocolate . . napped . . played with Bella in the garden briefly, instead of walking . . PCd/monitored radios. . guitarred/TVd . . ate a banana, a bag of crisps, a small tin of ham and some chocolate. . . TVd until bed around 1:30am.
16 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up around 8:30am. 16C in, 12C out, sunny. . . walked FGn in full warm sun. Big threatening clouds on the horizon all around, but really warm and nice here right now. . .returned home to find I'd missed an attempted delivery!!? MUST have been the vacuum already. That's quick - but oh boy, how frustrating is that to have 'just' missed them! :o( Phoned them up and they said they'd try to deliver it again tomorrow (any time after 7:30am!) - and I could ring around 9am to get a better idea of when it 'may' be. Damn, damn, damn. SO frustrating. . . recovered from the walk with a coffee in the garden. All of a sudden whilst I was sat there under the pergola, there was a horrible screaming noise and a flurry of wings swooping in. Two magpies had chased a blackbird down onto next door's patio and were proceeding to attack it!!!!! I've never seen that being done before! I jumped up onto the seat to look over the fence, and as I did so, the magpies were frightened away - leaving the blackbird (which had been on its back!) to right itself and sit there recovering a bit, looking very stunned and a bit disheviled, with a few of its torn out feathers blowing around nearby! It sat there for ages not moving. I'd originally thought it was a youngster, but with hindsight it may well have been an adult female. A black male was up on a rooftop overlooking nearbyish - but only briefly. Agonised and ummd and ahhd about whether or not to get more involved - because if the bird was seriously damaged, it probably wouldn't be able to make its own way up off their patio. Kept an eye on it over the fence for quite a while, before all of a sudden, when my back was turned for a minute, it'd disappeared. I remained concerned it'd just managed to crawl under some of the 'stuff' that littered next door's patio - and I eventually went and knocked on their front door to explain and ask for permission to have a quick scout around their patio. The woman willingly agreed and even met me out back to have a good look around. Embarassingly there was no sign of it as far as I could see - just a clump of downy feathers left behind and blowing around. Oh well - fingers crossed it recovered and managed to fly off. Just a little example I guess, of why magpie numbers have allegedly rocketed over recent years, and all other once 'common-all-garden' bird species have all significantly declined (and all of course undoubtedly because mankind is screwing everything up!)! :o( Unpleasant little drama of suffering to witness. Guess I'll be actively encouraging Bella to chase away the magpies (she does already anyway) when I see them in the garden from now on! . (It would appear that a couple of house sparrows are once again nesting up under the tiles on the corner of the other neighbour's extension, just above my pergola). . . PCd a bit of this . . . somehow ended up deciding to start having a go at playing with the reel of RG58 coax I'd bought, and started the work of trying to fashion a co-ax colinear antenna (for recieve only, really), as per all the plans and instructions I've been reading all over the web. Rightly or wrongly, in the back of my mind I've been thinking that IF they work well enough, it 'could' be possible to make an enormous one and just 'drape' it over the place and 'maybe' use it on the scanner instead of the colinear out front. Absurd, ill conceived optimism maybe - but only one way to find out - try it? . . started out by just cutting off a couple of tiny lengths of coax and made sure I was 'capable' of soldering the little 4mm long transposed overlap joins. Fiddley, but quite doable. . Meticulously did the calculations and then measured up on the garden table under the pergola and made a couple of marks on the table top, to be able to quickly measure and cut the multiple required lengths of coax. I went for an 8 element array to start with, of lengths of coax starting at 690mm long. Laboriously trimmed off 4mm of the outer braid and inner sheild from each end with a stanley knife before tinning each of the protruding inners with some solder in the kitchen. Returned to the outside table and trimmed off 4mm from the outer plastcic covering at each end, to reveal the braid. Used my thumbnail and a twisting action to push back the braid at each end and get it ready for soldering, with a millimeter or two of insulation on the inner core left exposed, to ensure the braid couldn't foul/short the eventual soldered connections.
-/ unfinished /-
played coax all day !!!!!!
-/ unfinished /-
. . . walked BGdns with a
coffee after 8pm. I HAD intended to sit around for a while,
listen to radio and enjoy the evening with my coffee and cigs,
but it pretty soon became apparant, that wasn't to be (again!?). I've no idea where they come from
or why it should be SO bad down on the lower seat where we always
sit to play ball, but in certain weather conditions (usually
after rainfall) it's quite common for me to be 'significantly
bothered' by swarms of midges or small flies or whatever the hell
they are! Not only do they fill the air, but always seem intent
on landing on us both. I've tried waving my arms around, and
smoking cigarettes and blowing smoke at them, but absolutely
nothing puts them off. They continue to land all over us in great
numbers. Tonight was particularly bad, and we really had no
choice but to flee pretty quick. (The picture included here, is
of my knee - and is pretty representative of the rest of me at
that time! Makes your skin crawl - literally!! Intolerably
irritating!) I DID manage to find a higher seat, up above the
roofed seats, which wasn't so badly affected, and did sit there
for a smoke at least. (It's weird how those flies never seem to
go in under the roof or bother you when sat under there.
Unfortunately those seats were already occupied this evening.) .
. . TVd . . drank a glass of red wine. Cooked and ate six oven
cooked fish fingers, peas, and a large pile of chips . . TVd .
.ate a few biscuits before to bed around 1:30am.
17 - Up around 7:45am. 16C in, 9C out, sunny. . . 'postponed' the walk and PCd (surfing and reading up some more on co-ax colinear aerials) just wasting away the morning, waiting for the vacuum delivery. Around 10am I gave the delivery company a call asking approximately when it would be here. Between 1pm and 3pm was their 'irritating' answer! Irritating because I'd assumed it would likely be as early as yesterday! . . . walked 'warm' and sunny FGn in a foul mood . . wasted away the rest of the morning messing around with the coax colinear I'd made yesterday. Knocked up a lead with a socket on the end, and soldered it on, to enable me to more robustly connect it up to stuff, so I could run a more serious test of how it was picking stuff up compared to other antennas (albeit WITHOUT doing the more difficult work of adding a tube/groundplane type part - which according to what I've read, 'shouldn't' make that much difference). Ended up in the PC room, with the coax colinear draped in various different positions (including out of the window down the front of the house, etc), with a switcher connected, to enable me to do immediate side by side comparisons of received signals on the scanner. Well - I guess for a 'few bits of wire' it did a 'reasonable' job, especially considering it wasn't actually 'up in the air', but overall, I came to the same conclusion I had yesterday. Sadly, I really don't think it is worth pursuing. It's receive performance was 'lacking' - and generally speaking, appeared to be WELL below that of anything else I have, and even well below the copper tube slim jims I've already tried making (the marine-band one hung up in the attic, I still have a coax connection to). In fact - in 'some' respects, that slim jim inside the attic appears to pick up a lot of stuff on various different frequencies (but not all), noticeably better than the tri-band colinear outside on the front of the house?!!!? Yep - I think the 'co-ax colinear' project is dead in the water already. What a shame. Experimenting some more with 15mm copper pipe slim jims, I may yet return to. . . . Yayy - around 1:30pm the vacuum was delivered. Nervously (VERY nervously) unwrapped it. Well, for something that isn't new, on the whole I guess it's in pretty good shape. Remarkably clean by MY vacuum standards at the least. A few issues I wasn't over impressed with, but nothing worth sending it straight back for. Once I'd figured out how, I dared to pretty much immediately give it a go at vacuuming around the living room. It doesn't strike me as being particularly 'robust', and is gonna take a bit of getting used to, but it definitely does a far better job than what I've been used to. One of the most noticeable things was, that it didn't immediately fill the air with choking amounts of dust, as I've become used to - and of course it DOES seem to have a pretty damned good suck. Just doing the living-room and kitchen and hallway floors saw me have to empty it a few times! My old ones didn't pick up anywhere near that amount of dust! It very soon became apparant that the screen and filter was getting all choked by the dust, and I had to follow the labeled instructions about how to dismantle all the relevant parts. Once I'd managed to actually remove the filter, I took it out into the back garden and gently tapped and brushed out as much of the fine dust as I reasonably could onto the top of the patio wall. INCREDIBLE! Ended up with a big pile of the stuff. THAT is what my old ones would just circulate back into the air to land on everything, and for me (and Bella) to breath in! I've no idea how long it can last under such testing conditions (hopefully things will now gradually get better - and of course I can wash the filter) , but I guess it WAS the right thing to do, spending some money on a replacement one. If it does end up breaking under the strain, I'm really not sure it'll be possible to activate the guarantee and send it back, because it's already looking VERY dustcovered, used and abused, like only vacuums I own ever seem to! Anyway, fingers crossed it'll keep working for a while at least. I now have the problem of how to get rid of the two old ones! They can't be worth anything to anyone, not even for spares, so I may well have to attempt to break them down and sneak them out in the wheelie bin over time! We'll see. Called it quits and left doing more of the house for some other time. . . . PCd just a bit of this until mid afternoon (whilst the coastguard teams were out looking for a 'high-risk mis-per'). . . ate mayo and grated cheese sandwiches, crisps and a couple of biscuits . . napped. Forgot to reset the alarm and woke just before it was due to go off at 7pm - JUST before D arrived with his guitar for chats! . . .PCd/radiod and had a brief listen around the ever noisy bands before PCing a bit of this . . . ate tuna and mayo sandwiches, crisps and a square of chocolate before to bed around 2am.
18 - Up around 8:15am. 17C in, 13C out, sunny. Headachey - annadin tablet, coffee and cigs for breakfast. PCd this . . . walked BGdns with a coffee. M and 'the' dobermans were leaving a little distance away as we entered the gardens! Yayyy - that means the coast will be clear and I can relax a little. Sat on the lower seat and played ball for ages. A stunning morning. A millpond like clear blue sea and full sun. Sat around for quite a while, and then sat around some more up on the higher seat supping my coffee and having a cig or two. . One of my bad teeth (hopefully one of those getting pulled out soon - a big molar, rear bottom left) has suddenly broken in some way over the last several days. It started off being sharp on an edge, but has now somewhere along the line (I didn't notice when?!) really broken up quite a bit, and has turned into a sharp edged 'C' shape. A better description would be like a 'caldera' perhaps, with one side of it all blown away? Only reason I mention it, is because the two sharp edges of the 'C' are adjacent to my tongue, and it's impossible for it not to continually cut into my tongue a little bit. So - I now have a few weeks of THAT discomfort to endure (before my first of several dentist appointments). :o( . . eventually returned home late around 11:30am. . . . propped a ladder up against the cherry blossom tree and climbed up and temporarily fastened the end of the coax colinear antenna to one of the lower branches and draped the rest of it across to the timbers of the pergola. Sat at the garden table under the pergola with scanners and radios, trying to get another feel for how it was performing. Actually - 'maybe' - suprisingly not 'that' bad after all - maybe? Even messed around with a 'random' length of 15mm copper tube, just pressing it against the screen portion of the feed coax every now and then when I had a signal to recieve, to try to get an idea of exactly how much difference it would make if I fully completed that portion of the design. Hard to be sure under such 'heath robinson' circumstances, but contrary to what I've read, I think it WOULD make a slight positive difference, specifically around the tuned frequency/band. It seemed to make absolutely no difference at broader frequencies. Again - hard to be sure, but the whole affair 'seemed' to be bizarrely particularly 'ok' at picking up the aircraft band? Of course I've been 'spoiled' by having got used to expensive broadband high-gain colinear antennas up on the chimney stack. If I was starting from scratch with a scanner, and had nothing else up in the air, I imagine knocking up such a coax colinear and hanging it up somewhere, WOULD be a very cheap and acceptable way to start out at listening to stuff? I also have an admission to make. When messing around RECIEVING ONLY with the different radios, I did at one point make a very brief mistake of pressing the PTT on the VX-7 while it was connected to the bit of coax up the tree(on the local 2mtr TR repeater frequency)!!!!! God only knows what the outrageous SWR would be, with it all half-built and hung up and draped around like that! Nevertheless - that breifest of PTT presses was enough to access the repeater!! Hmmmm? . . Mum called in (early) with food donations for chats etc and forced a halt to further listening. Had to show her the new vaccum in action of course. lol. . still headachey - another annadin tablet. . . as soon as mum had gone, it was back to the garden and coax aerial for more 'assessment' listening. . I dunno. I may yet have to put more work into all that, to really be sure about whether or not to pursue it? . . . eventually called it quits and ate tuna and mayo sandwiches, crisps and some chocolate . . napped until around 6:45pm. . STILL headachey!?? Popped a paracetamol . . walked BGdns with a coffee and sat around on the top seat after ball play for quite a while again . . . TVd/guitarred the evening away . .D called giving me a 'heads-up' about a TV show allegedly scheduled to be on TV on Monday - about the 1989 Hillsborough football disaster. I'd raised the subject in a wide ranging conversation when he came round on Friday - and admittedly may have had a bit of a 'rant' about it when he was here. Here's a (slightly 'reordered') extract from wikipedia about the incident (which I can 'vaguely' recall from the news back then):- The 1989 Hillsborough disaster was an incident that occurred during the FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest football clubs on 15 April 1989 at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. The incident has since been blamed primarily on the police.
Entry to the ground was slow due to the few decrepit turnstiles available to the Liverpool fans which caused dangerous overcrowding outside the ground before kick-off. In an attempt to ease pressure outside the ground, Chief Superintendent Duckenfield ordered an exit gate to be opened. The opened exit gate led to a tunnel marked "Standing" which led directly to the two already overcrowded enclosures (pens). In previous years the tunnel had been closed off by police when the two central pens were full, however on this occasion the tunnel was unmanned. The ensuing influx of supporters caused crushing and some fans climbed over side fences or were lifted by fellow supporters onto the stand above to escape the crush. Moments after kick-off, a crush barrier broke and fans began to fall on top of each other. The crush resulted in the deaths of 96 people and injuries to 766 others." Horrific - so why my 'rant' about it to D the other night? Increasingly in recent times, the subject has had a LOT of press attention - and squarely the finger of blame has ever increasingly been pointed directly at the police. "The POLICE were to entirely to blame". THIS is what I have a MAJOR problem with. I cannot imagine ANY argument which would move me from a very much simpler explanantion of who was REALLY to blame. Quite simply, 'I' would blame the person who pushed the person in front of them! WHY is it not THAT simple? Why is it everyone elses fault, EXCEPT the very people who pushed the people in front of them - the fans!? If I'm walking down the busy Fore street in town, and start pushing the person in front of me, and as a 'knock-on' result, someone falls in the harbour and drowns, who is to blame? The police? I think NOT! It is 'I' who would be ENTIRELY to blame! Would 'I' not be guilty of manslaughter as a result of at least a public order offence? No - I'm sorry - 'I' can't blame the police for 'opening a gate', no matter how unwise that may have been with the benefit of hindsight (and no matter how much of a cover-up of their actions they may have sought to acheive afterwards). I will ALWAYS believe it is primarily the fans who started pushing the people in front of them, who have the blood on their hands. Unpalatable as it is, I believe it is THESE people who should take personal responsibility for their own behaviour and the consequences - and not be allowed to hide behind criticism of the police, etc. :o( I AM of course FULLY aware that many of the fans were entirely innocent and unwilling parties in the ensuing 'crowd dynamic'. I HATE crowds for such very reasons. If 'I' am in a 'crowd' (heavan forbid!) and someone invades my personal space and actually lays hands on me and starts pushing me (without life-threatening good cause), at the VERY least, I will attempt to slow down and WILL push back against them (and would ultimately probably end up turning around and getting beaten up!)!! Anyway - rant over - and no doubt, now elligable for death treats! :o( I may have to try to catch whatever TV program it is that D said was on. . . .TVd . . ate a pair of ham finger rolls, three Mum donated caramel wagon-wheel biscuits and a couple of mini chocolate logs . . to bed around 1:30am.
19 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up around 9:10am. 17C in, 12C out, cloudy - with a big band of rain approaching from the south east, according to the rain radar website. . that old video I did of just a robin singing in Battery Gardens has really taken on a life of its own. I'm frequently having people make comments and do video 'replys' to it! It's had over74,000 views now! I wonder how many pennies that would have earned me if I'd signed up to their advertising share program? . . . walked FGn. Chilly and a spot or two of rain in the air already . . . Mum called to touch base . . sat in the conservatory recovering from the walk with a coffee as heavier rain began to fall - with the coax colinear stuffed under a couple of the conservatory rafters and just hanging down in loops connected to the scanner. I 'may' have been too critical of that antenna. Given it cost me really next to nothing, if it was actually hung up verticaly with a bit of height in free space like it's supposed to be (which is NOT what I had in mind for it in my experiments!!), I suspect it really 'could' do a pretty 'reasonable' job? Maybe I'm not done with experimenting with it after all. Trouble is, to really get to the bottom of it, I'll have to get far more serious about getting it up in the air somewhere - or laying up the slope of the main roof tiles to the ridge at the VERY least - and doing all that just to test to see if it'll work, is a major piece of work in itself! Not sure I can face it. . .PCd a bit of this while sucking an annadin tablet (while the ILB and coastguard teams were back out all around the bay, once again looking for the female high-risk mis-per - but with apparantly perhaps a greater emphasis on looking for a 'casualty' in the water now!!! :o( ) . breifly radiod locally with a holidaymaker, who no one else replied to when he called. It almost feels embarassing at times that SO many radio amateurs live down this way (and many extensively 'monitor' like I do), and yet when someone down in the area on holiday gives a shout, they are SO often met with complete silence all across VHF. . .drank a glass of red wine. Cooked and ate a couple of quarter pound burgers in buttered bread rolls with mayo, grated cheese and ketchup . . napped until the 7pm alarm . . skipped the walk and just TVd the night away hardly moving, feeling tired and 'distant' from all - and with a sore tongue of course! . . . PCd . . BB called to touch base . . ate a banana and some biscuits . . TVd/PCd until bed around 3:30am!!
20 - Up just gone 9am. 16C in, 13C out, cloudy. . . walked FGn . . mowed both lawns and deweeded the new front border a bit. Now it's all had a chance to settle down, there seems to be more stones in that 'soil' than earth! Picked out a bunch and added them to a pothole in the lane. . cut my hair/vacuumed/did laundry. A 'choresy' kinda day. PCd and listened to radios briefly . . .walked FGn and back via the store . . TVd and eventually watched the 9pm BBC 'Hillsborough- the truth' show. Plenty of potentially justifiable criticism (with the benefit of hindsight?) of the way things were handled by the emergency services etc, but overall, I saw nothing in that program which altered my existing view of things. (i.e. - open as many gates as you like - if people observe a socially 'normal' personal-space and aren't being 'agressive' and pushing people in front of them, nothing untoward happens!). What I found particularly perplexing/unsettling watching that program, was how it appeared that no one else in the world shared that view of things!? Unless it was 'particularly' biased, everyone seems to think that pushing along in a crowd eager to get somewhere, is TOTALLY acceptable. SO acceptable, it was barely even mentioned, and given what I see as that abdication of the personal responsibility of individuals, it was therefor entirely the responsibility of state institutions to manage and be responsible for the result!?? Wow - is that really how 'society' acts? No wonder I avoid people - and crowds in particular! I don't understand 'people' - not one little bit - never will. MUST hide away from them. :o( . . . ate a banana, ham and mayo rolls, crisps, and a couple of wagon wheels . .TVd, and ended up on one of the freesat US news channels for a while, watching reporting of the horror of the latest big Tornado strike. . ate bowls of co-co pops and rice krispies . . to bed before midnight.
21 - Up at 8am. 17C in, 12C out, cloudy and breezey. Woke with a coffee at the PC as usual. . put laundry out on the line before walking . . walked FGn. . .tried to motivate myself to 'do' something, but just ended up going round and round in circles with the attempt, before just not feeling up to doing anything at all! . . PCd a bit of this . . ended up messing around on the computer for ages, doing something very silly I've LONG been meaning to do. I laboriously created a straightforward audio file (using the 'Audacity' software) of recordings of all the most common morse-code characters (alphabet, numbers, just a little punctuation) together with the spoken character after the code for each. Used an on-line text-to-speech 'voice' ('Daniel' UK) to pronounce the characters. I kinda 'know' all those standard characters in morse-code of course, but I continue to have MAJOR trouble actually committing many of them to that part of my subconscious brain, which would enable me to simply know and read them without thinking! My theory behind knocking up this audio file, is that it 'may' be possible to continually listen to it, and beat it into my mind in a 'subliminal' kinda way? Once again, the only way to see if it'll work, is to give it a go - and not having easily found any such file on the net (bound to be one 'somewhere'), it meant laboriously knocking one up myself!! Took ages! . . . walked BGdns with a coffee . . TVd/guitarred . . .ate a six pieces of bread and butter pile of corned beef and mayo sandwiches, crisps and a large number of mini chocolate rolls . . TVd until bed around 1am.
22 - Up at 7:50am. 17C in, 13C out, sunny spells and breezey again. . . walked FGn . . .messed around on the PC and eventually uploaded the silly morse code learning audio file to youtube for the little it's worth, just in case anyone else ever wants such a thing. Took me ages to get it right, and then lo and behold, the youtube conversion/upload process destroys the timing of the appearance on screen of the characters! WHAT a waste of my time!! . . .ate corned beef, mayo and grated cheese sandwcihes, crisps and biscuits . . napped until the 6:30pm alarm . . .put the heavy wheelie bin out for tomorrows collection (full of 'hidden' tree cuttings) - together with the most useless one of my old upright vacuum cleaners, just sat next to it!! Not sure if they take such things these days, but I HAVE seen other people put out such stuff, so worth a go . . .TVd/PCd/monitored radios. . .TVd and watched the news coverage of the horrific 'public' murder of a soldier on a street in Woolwich!!! Incredibly traumatising and upsetting. :o( Left me filled with SUCH anger. SUCH overwhelming ruthless anger! :o( Religion? <spit!>. . . back on the PC for a bit and went ahead and ordered a bunch of coax plugs, because I'm almost out and am being held back from experimenting some more and knocking up patch leads and the like. Ordered 10 each of PL259 for RG213 and for RG58 cable sizes, for £16.60 inc postage. . . ate just a couple of bananas and some biscuits . . TVd until bed around 2am.
23 - Up at 8am to the sounds of the bin men. Excellent - everything taken no problem. The vacuum was just picked up and tossed straight into the back of the lorry! So much for recycling! - but a load off, thank you very much. . . 17C in, 12C out, sunny spells and breezey . .woke at the PC and PCd a bit of this whilst playing the morse audio file I knocked up the other day. After all that work, I really don't think it's gonna be of any benefit whatsoever. Checked in on Yahoo and ended up reading a news article about yesterday's outrage. Unusually spent ages going through all the reader comments which had been left beneath the news article, trying to get a feel for how 'society' feels about it! MUCH anger and outrage - and plenty using it to justify all manner of racist, anti immigrant type stuff. No matter how flawed the arguments, sadly I found myself agreeing with many of the sentiments expressed. . walked FGn. Really unpleasantly cold in the strong NNW wind. Carried on down town, very specifically to go to the cheap shoe store in search of a replacement pair of slippers. The ones I have are quite literally falling to bits on my feet - and are now pretty dangerous for going up and down stairs etc. It may be 'old mannish', but I've ALWAYS 'needed' slippers around the house for how I've lived my life. Too much popping out to the bin or into the garden, etc to do without. . tied Bella to the security shutter outside and then successfully tried-on and bought an acceptable pair for £4.99. Actually a size 9, despite taking a size ten in shoes. Soft slippers always seem to 'expand' and get loose, and can irritatingly start to 'fall off' over time - so a size smaller has proven to make sense. Even got a pair which kinda match the curtains and sofa (like I care)! lolol Mum would be proud. lolololol. . a young woman was singing to an amplified backing tape down in the high street. Actually sounded pretty good. Went to have a listen and closer look. Turned out to be a fundraising thing for people rattling collection buckets. The 'Help For Heros' charity. It is the rarest thing for me to EVER donate ANY money for anything (for various reasons - undoubtedly including simply being the most selfish person I know!! :o( ) , but given the events of yesterday, and my continuing 'distress' over having seen those horrific videos and photos on the news (and of course repeatedly involuntarily imagining what the victim actually experienced), it felt as though it was entirely appropriate and even 'necessary' for me to empty out all the small change from my pocket and throw it in one of thier buckets. (As I did so, I found myself 'apologising' that it wasn't much!??) I suspect many people were of a similar mind this morning! I wonder how 'tuned in' the people who run that charity are? If they were turned out en-mass all over the country today, they would probably have collected more than ever before. . stopped in shops and bought six tins of Tesco dog food (£2.90), some onions, a lettuce and a treated myself to a ready cooked chicken (£3.99) (and a bag of bones for Bella). All in all, turned into an 'expensive' trip! . . recovered from the walk and carry-back in the garden with a coffee and cigs while Bella quickly despatched one of her bones . . . back out and walked up the local store for bread and milk supplies . . . TVd the news. "This attack has nothing to do with the religion of Islam" all the politicians were repeatedly saying!!? Do what? Of course it was! WHAT absurd propoganda! Watch the news guys! Every single day, all over the world, similarly obscene acts of ignorant barbaric violence are perpetrated ALL in the name of mostly Islam (admittedly with other religions less frequently making an appearance)! Whichever way you cut it, there IS something fundamentaly 'wrong' about the way specifically THAT religion 'propogates'. It appalls me - more than all the rest! . . ate corned beef, onion, mayo, grated cheese and lettuce sandwiches, crisps and biscuits . . napped the windy afternoon away . . . couldn't face the evening walk again. . Vacuumed and cleaned more dust from around the place again. I think it's fair to say, that throughout my ENTIRE life, I have never before had a vacuum that (for the moment at least) does SUCH a good job of actually picking up the dust from around the place. Every time I use it, along with 'normal' dog hair and stuff, I produce at least another cup full of that fine choking brown dust that constantly drifts unseen in the air and descends on everything everywhere. I'm even beginning to wonder if I finally actually have a hope of keeping the place relatively clean - once I've managed to dislodge and capture the majority of the already resident dust? Time will tell, but already, the place is starting to look cleaner than it has done probably since I moved in. (MY version of 'clean', is probably other peoples equivalent of disgustingly uninhabitable of course!). I won't go so far as to say that vacuuming is now a pleasure, but it IS nice to be able to actually see a positive difference for a while, once I have. . . . TVd a disturbing program all about sex abuse/grooming of vulnerable girls etc. Fuel for the arguments of the right wing and anti immigration etc. EVERY one of the hundreds (!!!?) of offenders, appeared to be of asian origin! . .. avoided the news and PCd, trawling through e-bay and the like. . . ate a cold chicken leg/thigh with a couple of pieces of bread and butter, banana and some chocolate . . TVd until to bed around 2am. Tossed and turned for hours, unable to get to sleep. (Something in the chicken?!)
24 - Up at 8:40am after really almost no sleep at all. 16C in, 11C out, cloudy and threatening showers . . .walked FGn in the strong cold NNW wind, as the latest gale moved in, with gusts up around 40mph! . . .attempted a sewing repair (one of the lace loops) to one of a pair of cheap training shoes, which have been sat unused in the cupboard for ages, since having broken after having only worn them a handful of times. The repair seems to have worked, but they certainly aren't going to last very long. Real cheap rubbish. :o( . . .PCd a bit of this . . at 12:45pm the postman delivered all the PL259 plugs I'd ordered. Cheap feeling, but more than adequate. Interesting that instead of a couple of small round holes for soldering the coax braid to the socket body, these all have small elongated slots. Hmm - that 'should' I guess make it easier to solder? We shall see. . PCd more of this before somehow ending up on-line and bumping into what, in the current climate, appears to be a website worthy of some serious in-depth reading. http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/ . . .ate a tin of baked beans with four pieces of bread and butter followed by a little chocolate . . napped late for only an hour or so until the alarm at 7pm . . . D called in with his guitar for chats etc until around 10:30pm as the wind continued to blow real strong. . . TVd . . ate large amounts of heavily salted cold chicken with four pieces of bread and butter. . TVd until bed after 2am.
25 - Up around 8:20am. 17C in, 11C out, sunny and not much wind. . .walked FGn. Bella appeares to have a badly upset stomach!! :o( . Returned via the harbour and town, just to see what may have been going on, because a dog walker had suggested it was the Brixfest festival starting today. (I just don't bother keeping up with whatever maybe going-on these days.) I 'think' that Brixfest thing is what has taken over from what used to be called the Brixham Heritage Festival. Sadly, 'I' don't think it is anywhere near as good as it used to be when I first moved down here (and filmed it all). . Sure enough, there was plenty of hustle and bustle going on under the roof of the old fish market - although almost everything appeared to be food orientated and trying to take your money. Instead of getting all set up for having bands playing (like they used to), it appeared there was going to be a cooking demonstration!!! Didn't hang around. . . just sat around and briefly PCd/listened to radios until Mum called in . PCd and let Mum watch the heartwarming 'tornado-survivor-finds-dog-during-tv-interview' video I'd bumped into the other day. :o) . eventually came back down off the PC only to find Bella had thrown up on the carpet in the conservatory! :o( . . . It was SUCH a nice sunny day, and given Bellas unpredictable stomach at the moment, I figured we may as well get out of the house for a bit. Walked to BGdns and sat around on the grass in the sun for ages. All the old heritage sailing trawlers were out racing around the bay, and seperately nearer Torquay a large fleet of yachts were also doing their own race. I think there 'may' have been some sort of small power boat race over that way too, but it was too far off to see or be heard. All very picturesque. As we sat on the grass in the full sun, with all the spectacular views layed out in front of us, a 'softly, softly' coastguard shout was ALSO going on over Livermead. Apparantly a possible suicidal person part way down the cliffs. 'The police helicopter 'Osca 99' was hovering keeping observations from overhead as CRTs (Coastguard Response Teams) were rigging up preparing to abseil down the cliff. The ILB was called across the bay to stand offshore 'just in case'. Funny thing was, there was a 'suggestion' on the scanner, that the potentially suicidal person 'may' once have actually been one of the CRT personel! If that WAS the case, seemed to me there is something of a very strange irony about that. Whoever he was, the guy was ultimately safely talked down and taken 'into care'. . sat around on the grass for a LONG time before eventually ending up on one of the higher seats for a while longer. . eventually returned home by around 5pm . . TVd . . cooked chips and ate a plateful with all the remaining cold roast chicken . . TVd the whole evening away . .briefly sat out in the front garden around 10pm and watched a few of the Brixfest fireworks, rising up into view from the distant harbour. Frankly, in the crystal clear sky, the big full, just-rising orange moon, was FAR more impressive to me. . . ate a whole Mum-donated bag of five small doughnuts! . . .TVd until to bed around 1:30am.
26 - Up just before 8am. 17C in, 13C out, sunny. Turned out Bella had gone down in the night with her upset stomach and had pooped in the kitchen - all around the kitchen - EVERYWHERE! FFS! :o( That I could very much have done without! Put me in a filthy mood! . . shut Bella out in the garden and left her out there before waking at the PC, very slowly mustering up the energy to start the enormous clean up! . . No walk this morning Bella.. Moved furniture and cleared up with a wallpaper scraper and lots of newspaper as best I could before then tearing up all the carpet tiles (several glued down) and taking them all out into the garden for some scrubbing and hosing down. Spread the 'cleaned' tiles all over the top of the garden, to dry in the full warm sun and bit of breeze. .in the kitchen/diner, all the old carpet tiles had originally been glued straight onto some old lino covering the floorboards beneath. After all the renovation work I've done, much of that lino has alredy been removed in various areas, but plenty still remains because it was just such a hassle to remove (and I've got all lazy and run out of steam with working on the house). With that lino remaining under some of the carpet tiles, and not under others, several areas of carpet tile have been noticeably a couple of millimeters higher than others for ages. I've just continued living with it like that, but it HAS started to bug me, mostly because the vacuum can tend to leave a noticeable bit of debris along such joins because of the slightly different levels. Well - because I'd had to take up and wash SO many carpet tiles (and some of the old tearing lino beneath which they were glued to), it seemed like I really had no choice but to start doing all the work to remove the last of all that lino from the main area of the diner floor! With potentially the best weather of the year so far, I had NOT banked on doing all THAT today! :o( Foul, foul mood (with poor Bella 'encouraged' to stay away from me out in the garden ALL day!)!. . spent hours moving furniture and pulling up carpet tiles and old lino. The lino was stuck to the floorboards all over the place, so I spent hours on my hands and knees scraping away at the 'mounds' of old glue and broken lino with a broad metal-bladed wallpaper scraper. Took AGES!!! . .swept and vacuumed all the floorboards (with my OLD vacuum, so as not to immediately ruin my new one with all the brick dust from between the floorboards etc. I HAD been intending to also throw that old dust emitting vaccuum away, but maybe while it still more or less works, I should hang onto it for such 'building work' type jobs?). Eventually had all the carpet tiles back down and everything vaccuumed and straight by around 4pm! WHAT a 'waste' of a day!!!!! :o( . . mowed and strimmed both lawns. They didn't 'really' need doing again so soon, but with rain forecast for tomorrow, and what with Bellas frequent pooping with her upset stomach etc, it seemed best to get it done again. Poor Bella pooped at least a couple of times and also threw up throughout the day!! :o( In the hope it would be to Bella's benefit - but also because I just could not face the potential prospect of having to go through all that carpet washing again tomorrow morning - I determined that I would NOT feed her AT ALL today!. . . walked FGn . . .TVd . .drank a glass of wine . . bizarrely, Bella seemed to calmly accept that she wasn't getting any food, without any particular noticeable distress. 'I' however was having a real hard time with my conscience over the decision. Whenever I eat, I ALWAYS give Bella the last little mouthful of whatever it is I'm having. She's learned that if she just calmly sits there without pestering me whilst I eat, she WILL get a little bit, once the 'pack leader' has had his fill. Whenever I eat anything, drool quite literally immediately pours from her mouth! It just didn't seem right for me to sit there and stuff my face and NOT give her ANYTHING at all, all day! That seemed far too much like 'torturing' her. I debated with myself long and hard over this - but I just didn't want to have to put her through it. (Ain't I silly! lol) I ultimately decided I just wasn't prepared to do it - and that we would BOTH go without food today! So - today we BOTH ate, absolutely nothing! . . spread an old sheet around the floor in the kitchen, and left the door to the conservatory open before going to bed, in the hope that if she ended up pooping in the house again, I wouldn't have to repeat the whole of today! . . to bed (hungry) around midnight. Awful loud gurgling from poor Bellas empty, upset stomach - slightly less so from mine!
27 - Woke around 5:30am but managed to snooze on until around 8am before getting up. 16C in, 12C out, sunny but much breezier. Gusting up around 30mph, and stronger (and rain) forecast for later. . . walked FGn in the mostly sunny spells but very chilly breeze. . .dared to put down some food for Bella's breakfast, but she worringly wasn't interested! . . PCd a bit of this until around midday. When DID I last eat? I'm feeling a little light headed and woozy, but actually not 'particularly' hungry. My increased chain-smoking probably accounts for all that. . .ate two quarter pound burgers in buttered rolls with mayo, ketchup and grated cheese together with a big pile of chips, followed by a little chocolate. Bella ate her 'breakfast' when I dared to add the frying-pan grease from the burgers like usual. . napped the afternoon away . . . rain and wind . . TVd the evening away after having fed Bella her evening meal like usual. Fingers crossed . . TVd/guitarred//listened to radios a bit. Very poor/quiet on the bands again - so, soon back to the TV, which also had nothing on of any interest to me. . I seem to have somehow strained some leg muscles, presumably just scraping the floor the other day???? Suffering quite a bit of discomfort and 'weakness' from various aches and pains, all over!? God I'm getting old! . . . ate a piece of Mum donated gala pie, crisps, biscuits and chocolate . . to bed around 2am (still with the old sheet on the kitchen floor, just in case - although Bella IS giving indications of 'maybe' being back to normal. Fingers crossed.).
28 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up around 7:10am with neighbour running down stairs and slamming door noise. 17C in, 9C out, sunny spells and threat of showers . . . walked FGn, mostly in the sun. Bella isn't by any means fully right - I got through a bunch of poop bags and made an embarassing mess of plenty of grass (what can ya do?!!!) - but I think she is 'better', and maybe enough to think about removing the old sheet still draped all around the kitchen floor. Not yet maybe. . .TVd/PCd and just sat around feeling down the whole day through . . ate a couple of ham, mayo, grated cheese and lettuce finger rolls, crisps, banana and chocolate real late . . napped for less than a couple of hours until 7pm . . .TVd . .Spent quite a while grooming and messing with Bella . . .PCd trawling e-bay etc . . ate a banana and biscuits . . to bed around 2am.
29 - Up just after 8am. 16C in, 8C out, sunny. I didn't hear her leave the room, but Bella was NOT on her bed when I woke. That filled me with dread. Sure enough, she'd filled the kitchen with poop again - albeit thankfully all over the old sheet I'd not yet taken up. Banished Bella into the garden again before trying to clear up as best I could. The sheet certainly seems to have taken the brunt of it all, but there IS a limit to how absorbant an old sheet can be! :o( This is miserable - and IS starting to get worrying about how long it's continuing for. :o( . left the soiled sheet soaking in a bowl of water in the garden before walking. . .walked FGn. One of the small bungalows I pass on the way to the field, was having a new bathroom fitted a week or so ago, and they'd had a skip nearby briefly one morning. Whenever that was, I couldn't resist stopping and having a look in it at a few bits of plastic pipe and the like (for possible aerial experiments etc?), but sadly by the time I did, the workman had sawed everything up into skip sized chunks that were of little possible use to anyone for anything. Whilst having a look back then, I'd exchanged a few freindly words with the house owner, etc. This morning as I passed that same bungalow, the owner was sat out front catching a bit of sun. As I said good morning in passing, he called me back and good naturedly said something to the effect that since I was the sort of person who wasn't adverse to looking in skips etc, would I be interested in - and he raced inside to get whatever it was. Oh wow - turned out to be some sort of in very good condition, cylinder vacuum - which could also allegedly pick up liquids! They'd bought a new one, and were just looking to GIVE that one away. It was SO difficult to say no. I probably COULD have made good use of it here and there, but the big negative and deciding factor for me, was that it was NOT a bagless type. I still have a good, fully working cylinder vaccuum (from Mum) stashed under the stairs, but I NEVER use it because (aside from it being almost useless for picking up dog hair on the carpets) it too requires I buy 'expensive' bags for it. Given all the dust in the place, those bags don't last five minutes for me, and it'd cost me a fortune to use. SUCH a shame, but I eventually DID decline his kind offer (and when he said they couldn't be bothered with all the hassle of trying to sell it, I recommended a particular charity shop etc - although they'd already written 'Free' on the box, as though they were going to just leave it in view by their gate). I strongly suspect a passer-by would have snapped it up soon after I carried on my way. :o\ . . . back via the store for a few supplies . . . hand-washed the soiled sheet and then pulled up and hosed down three affected carpet tiles - again! Put everything out in the garden in the full sun and breeze to dry. . .sat in the garden for quite a time listening to random morse code audio files on my headphones/MP3 player . . . did the mountain of dishwashing chores . . eventually brought the carpet tiles back in and reinstated the kitchen floor before vacuuming around the place. Actually ended up giving the new vacuum a good cleaning out of some of the dust it's now always full of. The main filter CAN be washed, but I didn't want to go quite that far so soon (because it's BOUND to 'degrade' it), so I just washed the mesh screen and other associated parts, and carefully dry-brushed the majority of the loose dust from the filter with a paintbrush. Quickly dried everything off out in the sun. . draped the old sheet back all over the kitchen floor as best I could. It's awful having to live with it there, but it sure did do its job and make cleaning up this morning a little less painful than it would have been. . ate two ham, mayo, grated cheese and lettuce finger rolls, mini cheddars and chocolate . . napped until around 7pm. Difficulty waking. . .walked FGn with a coffee in a bit of intermittant light rain. Eventually carried on down around the harbour and all the way out past the marina to the breakwater carpark, to have a look at the vintage cars that were due to be assembling there as part of the Brixfest events. Some nice examples of old cars from back when you could tell them apart and each actually had its own unique look and character, and from back when cars were 'started up' rather than todays 'turned on'. Did a simple quick walk through and immediately headed back. Walked all the way back and thence along the outer harbour and up into BGdns for a sit on the high seat, listening to radios and supping my coffee etc for quite a long while . . . PCd/TVd the evening away . .ate biscuits . .TVd/PCd . . ate corned beef and lettuce sandwiches followed by a square of chocolate. . .let Bella out after 1am on one of her currently every two/three hourly visits to the garden, only to have her go a bit crazy and exciteable?? Raced out to see what was going on. She'd found a hedgehog crossing the lawn, and cornered it by the bit of old gate I've got propped up near the end of the pergola to stop her ruining where I've put down a little grass seed. I think she HAD 'made contact' with the hedgehog, and it was all rolled up into a spikey ball, with perhaps a grunt or two of 'annoyance' eminating from it. lol Nice to still have some around despite us. A priveledge to see. :o) . . eventually to bed (leaving the door to the conservatory open) around 3am.
30 - Woke earlier tried to snooze on, but couldn't get something soon ending on e-bay out of my mind (an MFJ morse tutor), and soon got up around 7:30am. 16C in, 13C out, breezy and sunny spells. Sat in on the end of the auction but easily managed to resist, when it went for what I felt was silly-ish money (for me). . PCd a bit of this . . . walked FGn in the increasingly sunny weather - but still a stiff, sharp breeze. Sat around for ages. Plenty of holiday makers around, and sounds like a busy day for the ferries. Around 75 passengers on the 10 o'clock from Torquay ( - and in the hundred(s) later) . . walking back, almost at home, I spotted something laying in the road eventually worthy of turning round and walking back over to have a closer look at. Turned out to be a half decent pair of cheap 'Next' semi-rimless, plastic and rubber, sport sunglasses in a nylon 'DC Sport' drawstring pouch! Particularly because I don't think they are worth much (£10ish?), I can't face all the hassle of trying to find their rightful owner or walking miles to hand them in somewhere etc - I'll probably just hang onto them and use them sometime maybe. They ARE almost 'me'. lol . . recovered from the walk with a coffee in the garden . . PCd a bit of this . .ate chopped lettuce, onion and grated cheese with four pieces of bread and butter. . .napped . . walked BGdns with a coffee . . . Mum called to touch base at length - and let me know Sis1 and family were planning on visiting tomorrow. . TVd . . ate a ham and mushroom pastry slice, banana, mini cheddars biscuits and chocolate . . .to bed around 1:30am.
31 - Woke earlier snoozed on then up around 8am. 19C in, 16C out, sunny. . woke at the PC and ended up having a bit of a surf looking up a vague 'Why do I feel cold all the time?' search. This last few days I've been watching the temperatures get better and better, and yet I've been sitting around the house wrapped in my winter multiple layers feeling utterly frozen!? Deep down frozen to the bone - and of course in a really down, TOTALLY alienated from the rest of humanity, can't seem to motivate to do ANYTHING type state - day after day!! :o( Somewhat interesting to me, that search returned a bunch of references to potential thyroid problems. I did of course many years ago have a 'temporarily' overactive thyroid - and a little while ago the doctor wrote me a letter suggesting I was long overdue for a blood/thyroid type test (which I ignored and put in the bin - because I don't 'do' doctors, unless I absolutely have to). Despite all that, it seems pretty obvious to me that it's far more likely to be food/poor-diet related (and of course simply one of the usual 'symptoms' of my being in a 'down' state anyway). Worthy of note here, the 'infection' I had on the back of my head a month or whenever ago, never was entirely fixed by the doctor's antibiotics. It's kinda been 'bubbling' along under the surface there for a while, and had somehow inexplicably started to 'migrate' downwards!!????? It has recently resurfaced in the form of 'irritating erruptions' in the region of the left side of the back of my neck - perfectly positioned to be continually irritated by the collars of clothing! I may yet be returning to see the damn doctor! :o( . . Mum called to let me know Sis1 and family were NOT visiting after all. Awful of me as ever, but I confess I was very glad to hear it. Not at all in the mood to have to be pretending to be 'sociable'. . . walked the beach, woods and BGdns - wearing the sunglasses I found yesterday. lol A stunning proper summer-like day. . . Back via the store for burgers and bread rolls . . recovered from the walk with coffee in the garden etc. - feeling up-tight and guilty about not feeling up to doing ANYTHING again! :o( . . drank a glass of red wine. Cooked and ate four quarter pound burgers in buttered rolls . . napped until just after 6:15pm - feeling very warm thanks to the burgers of course. . D called in just after 7pm with his guitar. I very much wasn't really in the mood again - and we mostly just chatted, etc . . . TVd . . ate corned beef sandwiches and biscuits . .TVd until to bed at 3am.